Sanskrit is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had diffused there from the northwest in the late Bronze Age. Sanskrit is the sacred language of Hinduism, the language of classical Hindu philosophy, and of historical texts of Buddhism and Jainism. It was a link language in ancient and medieval South Asia, and upon transmission of Hindu and Buddhist culture to Southeast Asia, East Asia and Central Asia in the early medieval era, it became a language of religion and high culture, and of the political elites in some of these regions. As a result, Sanskrit had a lasting impact on the languages of South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, especially in their formal and learned vocabularies. Sanskrit is the heart and soul of Indian civilization
Why should you learn the Sanskrit language?
There are several reasons why you should learn Sanskrit. Some serious and some not so much. But I would say you should learn Sanskrit because it is so much fun!
Apart from the fun, learning Sanskrit can also help you understand the etymology of a lot of words in Indian and non-Indian languages. It would also help you understand ancient Sanskrit texts, shlokas, and other Sanskrit words in their true context, with nothing getting lost in translation.
Sanskrit is also a very systematic and syntactic language and the grammar of the language servers as a master template for most Indian (and a few European) languages.
1.Sanskrit, earliest of the ancient languages.
There is sufficient evidence available today to say that Sanskrit is the oldest language of the world.
Among the current languages which possess a hoary antiquity like Latin or Greek, Sanskrit is the only language that has retained its pristine purity. It has maintained its structure and vocabulary even today as it was in the past.
The oldest literature of the world, the Vedas, the Puranas, and the Ithihasas which relate to the Indian subcontinent, are still available in the same form as they were known from the very beginning. There are many scholars in India who can interpret them today, much the same way great scholars of India did years ago. Such interpretation comes not by merely studying earlier known interpretations but through a steady process of assimilation of knowledge linking a variety of disciplines via Sanskrit.
2.Sanskrit is as modern as any language can be
Sanskrit is very much a spoken language today. Even now, as we enter the twenty first century, Sanskrit is spoken by an increasing number of people, thankfully many of them young. Among the learned in India, it continues to be a bridge across different states where people, in spite of their own mother tongue, use it to exchange scholarly and even general information relating to the traditions of the country. The News service offered by the Government of India through television and radio continues to feature daily Sanskrit program catering to local as well as international news.
The grammar of Sanskrit has attracted scholars the world over. It is very precise and upto date and remains well defined even today. Of late, several persons have expressed the opinion that Sanskrit is the best language for use with computers. The Samskritapriyah group does not subscribe to this view, however.
3.Sanskrit is a Scientist’s paradise
Sanskrit, the vocabulary of which is derived from root syllables, is ideal for coining new scientific and technological terms. The need to borrow words or special scientific terms does not arise.
From the very beginning, scientific principles have been hidden in the verses found in the Vedas, Upanishads and the great epics of India. Concepts and principles seen in present-day mathematics and astronomy, are all hidden in the compositions and treatises of many early scholars of the country. Some of these principles and concepts will be shown in the information section that will accompany the lessons.
The precise and extremely well-defined structure of Sanskrit, coupled with its antiquity offers a number of areas in linguistics research including Computational Linguistics. Also, Sanskrit distinguishes itself in that it is the only known language that has a built-in scheme for pronunciation, word formation, and grammar.
5.Sanskrit, a language for Humanity
Sanskrit is a language for humanity and not merely a means for communication within a society. The oldest surviving literature of the world, viz. the Vedas, encompass knowledge in virtually every sphere of human activity. The fact that many profound principles relating to human existence were given expression through Sanskrit, continue to amaze those who study Sanskrit. A Sanskrit Scholar understands the world better than most others.
Sanskrit perfectly depicted (and continues to depict) the social order of the day and offers clues to historical developments within the Society. The language has been used effectively to describe the virtuous and the not so virtuous qualities of great men, women, kings and queens, the philosophers and Saints of the country.
6.Philosophy, Theology and Sanskrit
Sanskrit abounds in Philosophy and Theology related issues. There are so many words one encounters within Sanskrit that convey subtly differing meanings of a concept that admits of only one interpretation when studied with other languages. The language thus has the ability to offer links between concepts using just the words.
7. Sanskrit for your emotions
The connoisseurs of the Sanskrit language know that it is the language of the heart. Whatever be the emotion one wishes to display, be it devotion, love, affection, fear, threat, anger, compassion, benevolence, admiration, surprise and the like, the most appropriate words of Sanskrit can flow like a gushing stream.
8. Or, learn the Sanskrit language… just because you want to!
This is the last reason I have for learning Sanskrit, but probably the most important one. You’ve made it this far, so you have to admit that learning Sanskrit has piqued your interest. The number of speakers or the career opportunities a language affords shouldn’t be your sole reason for learning it. Passion and interest are the most important things that will help you learn a language.
In the end I just want to remind you that Don’t Forget Your Motivation
It’s important to remember why you started on this journey to learn Sanskrit. This is obviously a very general tip, valid for learning Sanskrit or any other language. Focus on your goal. Dive deep into the vocabulary that will help you understand the topics you want to be able to discuss. Also join Multibhashi for language learning.